Section 8 (video game)
|Designer(s)||Brett Norton (Lead Designer)|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Section 8 is a first-person shooter developed by TimeGate Studios and published by SouthPeak Interactive. It utilizes the Unreal Engine 3 and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released on September 1, 2009, on the Xbox 360 and September 4, 2009, on the PC in North America, September 11, 2009, in the UK and Asia Pacific, September 18, 2009, in the rest of Europe, and on the PlayStation 3 on March 25, 2010 in North America and April 15, 2010 in Europe.
In Section 8, characters wear powered armor suits which provide damage absorption and augmented mobility. Players can use "overdrive" to move horizontally at superhuman speeds, or activate vertical thrusters (jetpack) to achieve new heights.
Players are able to "burn-in" by dropping onto the battlefield from orbital dropships hovering at 15,000 feet (5200m) from the surface, thus eliminating fixed spawn points. "Burning-in" also creates the opportunity for the player to choose where they drop on the map, granting the game an increased aspect of unpredictability. This process is an interactive experience as players can be shot down upon entry by players and anti-aircraft turrets alike, though these situations can be avoided or mitigated by using the "air-brake" feature which allows the player to make mid-air adjustments.
Players are encouraged to work in teams to achieve objectives and defend one another. They may deploy defensive structures such as Mini-Gun Turrets, Rocket Turrets, Anti-Air Turrets, Supply Depots, or Sensor Arrays to protect friendly-controlled objectives, or deploy vehicles such as Tanks or Heavy Armors which can operate to assault enemy-controlled objectives. Players are be able to purchase these using "Requisition Points" which are awarded to the player for various feats they perform through play.
Players are able to choose their primary and secondary weapons, such as assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, and sniper rifles, as well as grenades, explosives, knives, mortar launchers and healing units. The player is also able to create their own player class through various stackable modules that determine the player's speed, stealth, or the regeneration of the limited-use jetpack. Excessive damage endured by the player to certain parts of their body, such as their legs, arms, head, or chest, may disable or hinder the use of these enhancements.
Dynamic Combat Missions (DCMs), a type of mini-game, can be activated mid-combat by the player, and can reward the player with Requisition Points when completed successfully. Some DCMs will include protecting a convoy, capture intelligence, or assassinating an enemy character.
Section 8 includes a single-player campaign mode called "Corde's Story" that allows the player to proceed as a character named Alex Corde of the 8th Armored Infantry. The first several missions take place on the arid planet New Madrid and later move to a temperate planet. The single-player campaign consists of eight objective-based missions on the same maps as multiplayer that serve as a tutorial to the player for multiplayer play.
Section 8 supports X-Server functionality, where players can run their own dedicated servers for Xbox 360 games using a Windows-based PC. An X Server can handle up to 32 players at once. Similar to this, the PlayStation 3 version supports TGNServer technology which allows players to host dedicated servers using a Windows-based PC with up to 32 players. The PC version also features a 32-player maximum. Computer-controlled characters (bots) may also be used to fill remaining slots in multiplayer games for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
The name "Section 8" is derived from an old United States military discharge regulation for reason of being mentally unfit for service, and also refers to the 8th Armored Infantry in the game because of their participation in near-suicidal missions.
Section 8 takes place in the future after the human race has discovered interstellar travel and has colonized across the galaxy. At the time of the game, a group called the Arm of Orion, has begun to 'disconnect' the outermost frontier planets from the main governing body, taking them over while keeping their presence hidden from the government. As space travel is slow, it often takes weeks to communicate with or travel to a frontier world, affording the Arm with enough time to seize worlds and build their base of power, ultimately preparing an ambush for the government forces that will eventually respond. The government then discovers the Arm of Orion, and sends in the 8th Armored Infantry, including Alex Corde (the player), on a mission to investigate, and presumably fight, the Arm invasion.
Beta and demo
An open beta for Section 8 was made available at FilePlanet. Access to the game's beta was originally limited to residents in the U.S and Canada, but the beta was later made public. Attendees of Multiplay's i37 also got a beta key despite being in the UK.
A downloadable demo was released on Xbox Live on August 21. 2009. This multiplayer-only demo allows for online play on Xbox Live or offline play with AI-controlled bots on one map for indefinite playtime.
PlayStation 3 version
There was originally speculation that a PlayStation 3 version would release alongside the Xbox 360 and PC versions, though it was not released during this time-frame. Speaking at GamesCom 2009, SouthPeak Games, the publisher, said that a PlayStation 3 version currently existed, but there are no dates on its release.
On February 16, 2010, the game was officially announced as a PlayStation Network exclusive downloadable title, published by TimeGate Studios. The downloadable version would include the three bonus maps that were released for the Xbox 360 and PC versions, along with a number of other reported improvements. This version will also include the ability for 32-player games to be hosted on a PC.
Section 8 currently holds a 70.05% at GameRankings. Metacritic rates the game at a similar 69%. Though the PC version of the game is ranked slightly higher, a complaint common to both console and PC versions is the lack of server population. Since the single player campaign is essentially a tutorial for the multiplayer, the lack of other players severely inhibits gameplay. IGN praised the game for its multiplayer features and for its effective implementation of concepts drawn from the genre's history, but conceded that the game found itself "stumbling over some control and combat speedbumps". GamePro gave a similar review, highlighting the multiplayer nature of the game and describing it as "hardly worth a second glance" to the single-player. GameSpot also gave a somewhat positive review of the multiplayer, although criticism was directed towards the game's vehicles, with the opinion that the vehicles could have been more inspired.
Unlike its predecessor, Prejudice is a digital download-only release that promises to have more content than a standard retail game. The game was priced $14.99 at release. It was released for Xbox Live Arcade April 20, 2011, PC on May 4, and a PlayStation Network Summer 2011 release.
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